LEGO is an elemental media of play: stick, ball, box, and LEGO. It is impossible for me to think about my childhood without LEGO present. Colorful blocks. An ingenious locking mechanism. Simple pieces that can be combined into vast worlds. I am constantly amazed with the ways children can expand on the idea. I am also impressed with how the designers at LEGO suggest new and engaging ways for children and adults to think about this toy.
LEGO Champion adds another magnificent, Major Fun title to the company’s growing catalogue of board games AND it succeeds by utilizing the most basic piece of the LEGO universe: the 2×4 block.
Sometimes I get overwhelmed when I see all the different pieces that comprise the LEGO universe. Many are highly specialized pieces that were created for the themed sets. LEGO Champion eschews the custom pieces and delights the competitors with challenges that are based on only simple blocks. The game consists of a simple, rectangular game board; 8 LEGO people (each a different color); a LEGO Dice; and lots of 2×4 blocks (matching the colors of the LEGO people). The playing board must be constructed but it is very simple and clear instructions are included. Preparing the game for the first time didn’t take more than a few minutes.
Play moves clockwise. On his or her turn, each player rolls the LEGO Dice. Each face of the die is a solid color (red, yellow, purple, blue, orange, and green) that represents a type of challenge. When a color is rolled, that color of brick is placed on the game board, the player advances to that color, and a challenge ensues.
- If green is rolled, JUMP AHEAD. The player simply advances to a green block and stops.
- If red is rolled, the game is ON TARGET. The LEGO Dice is placed on the table and each player throws one LEGO brick at it. Closest wins.
- Blue is CODEBREAKER. The roller puts three blocks together and the other players have to guess the order by asking only yes or no questions.
- BLUFFING BRICKS is on orange. Every player grabs three bricks WITHOUT looking at them. Players bid on how many of one color are held in the hands.
- Yellow TOPPLE TOWER was a big favorite. The roller places one brick on the table. The next person must snap together 2 bricks and balance them on the first. Play continues with each person snapping together one more block than the person before.
- But purple SPEED BUILDER stole the show. The roller creates a sculpture of 8 bricks (one of each color) while the other players close their eyes. When the sculpture is revealed, the other players race to be the first to copy the creation.
The game is wonderfully customizable and the directions (oh those elegant, well-organized directions!!) encourage players to make up new challenges. The LEGO Dice can be modified in many ways—the game comes with four other faces that can be swapped onto the die (the bowling challenge was a blast). We were coming up with all sorts of games and variations as we played. Some of ours might turn out to be duds, but LEGO provides so many Major Fun examples that given a little time, families and friends will begin to accumulate their own personal favorites.
LEGO Champion really takes me back to what makes LEGO so vital and fun in the first place. It’s the same principle that often makes the box more fun than the toy in which it was wrapped. People want to play, and all they need are a few versatile pieces and some suggestions. Once they get going, the fun endures and grows.
LEGO Champion was designed by Cephas Howard and Jesper Nielsen. It is © 2011 by LEGO.